K-pop stars, actors embroiled in school violence, bullying controversies

Published February 23, 2021, 10:04 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

(Clockwise from top left) (G)I-DLE’s Soojin, Seventeen’s Mingyu, Stray Kids’ Hyunjin, The Boyz’s Sunwoo, Park Hye-soo, Kim So-hye, Kim Dong-hee, Jo Byeong-kyu and Loona’s Chuu (Twitter, Instagram)

The Korean entertainment industry is currently under siege as several actors and K-pop stars have been dragged into the issues of school violence and bullying.

In the past few days, Korean netizens have posted online to claim that certain Korean stars were involved.

These include (G)I-DLE’s Soojin, Seventeen’s Mingyu, “Uncanny Counter” star Jo Byeong-kyu, “Samjin Company English Class” actress Park Hye-soo, “Itaewon Class” actor Kim Dong-hee, actress and former K-pop girl group I.O.I member Kim So-hye, The Boyz’s Sunwoo, Stray Kids’ Hyunjin and Loona’s Chuu.

(G)I-DLE’s Soojin

The older sister of Soojin’s classmate in middle school posted online accusing her of school violence and bullying. The older sister said Soojin called her younger sister and her friend to the bathroom and made them slap each other and claimed Soojin slapped her younger sister, took her money and bullied her.

Response: (G)I-DLE’s agency, Cube Entertainment, said except for the argument between Soojin and her classmate on the phone, the allegations were not true. Soojin also denied it in a statement, saing, “First, I have never assaulted my friend. Second, I have never ridden a motorcycle. Third, I have never sent a group text message to bully someone. Fourth, I did not steal any school uniform or other belongings.”

Seventeen’s Mingyu

A netizen posted online to say that she and Seventeen’s Mingyu went to the same elementary and middle schools. She said Mingyu was a member of an “iljin,” a Korean term meaning school gang (according to Dong-A Ilbo).
She said in the first year of middle school, she was caught by an iljin and was subjected to verbal abuse. She said Mingyu, who watched the situation from the beginning and laughed, threw a soda cap in her face and laughed hard. She also claimed that Mingyu smoked and drank alcohol. As proof, she uploaded a graduation album. The post was deleted after several hours.

Response: Pledis Entertainment, Seventeen’s agency, denied the accusations, saying, “We don’t understand who is making this claim and for what purpose.” It pointed out that the graduation album she uploaded was from a different year than Mingyu’s.

The Boyz’s Sunwoo

A netizen posted and accused K-pop boy band The Boyz’s member Sunwoo of dating violence, saying his girlfriend went to school with bruises on her body. He was also accused of smoking and drinking in middle school. The post has since been deleted.

Response: Cre.ker Entertainment, The Boyz’s agency, refuted the accusations, saying, “we inform you that there was no physical violence, such as those mentioned in the deleted posts.”

Stray Kids’ Hyunjin

Stray Kids’ Hyunjin was also accused of school violence by a middle school classmate, who is demanding a personal apology from him.

“I’m a person who never thought that Hwang Hyunjin would debut as an idol, who would receive support from many people and even more loved,” the netizen wrote. The writer of the post at the time belonged to a small agency, learning acting and appeared in filming as a supporting actor. The writer claimed Hyunjin told them, “I will debut before you” and started harassing them.

The writer also claimed that at the end of second year of middle school, they were invited to a class chat room where Hyunjin and other male students and posted abusive words and sexual harassment.

Response: JYP Entertainment issued a statement, saying it is confirming the issue and is considering listening to the opinion of the one who wrote the post. It said many false parts of the post are spreading online, vowing to take legal action against those who are spreading false information.

Loona’s Chuu

Another netizen posted online to claim that she was bullied by Loona’s Chuu. She said she and Chuu attended the same middle school. She said Chuu invited her to a chat room and cursed and threatened her. She also claimed that Chuu cursed at her at the school gate as she was going home.

Response: Blockberry Creative, Loona’s agency, said the allegations are different from the truth and vowed to take legal action against those who damage the image and reputation of its artists with unfounded false information.